Thursday, October 08, 2009

Extry, Extry! Kid Wears Weird Clothes to School!

This happened in Georgia, you wonder how it would have played out if it happened here in Montgomery County.
Jonathan Escobar says he chooses to wear clothes that express himself. Skinny jeans, wigs, "vintage" clothing and makeup are the staples of his wardrobe.

"I don't consider myself a cross-dresser," he said. "This is just who I am."

But the 16-year-old says an assistant principal at North Cobb High School told him last week he needed to dress more "manly" for school, or consider being home-schooled. He had only been a student at the school for three days.

"I told myself I can't accept this," said Escobar, who wore a pink wig to school last Wednesday.

Escobar said the assistant principal told him his style of dress had caused a fight between students at the school. Two days later, he withdrew himself from the Kennesaw school.

"You can't wear clothing that causes a disruption," said Jay Dillon, spokesman for Cobb County schools. Cobb teen told he can't dress like a female at school

There seems like something inherently wrong with a rule or law that judges one person's actions on the basis of someone else's response to them. Like, yesterday I saw a guy in a navy blazer and black slacks that simply did not go together at all. He looked like a big doofus. I could have reacted, I could have called him names and gathered my friends around to taunt him for looking like a loser. If we did that at the school this kid goes to, the blazer-wearing doofus would have to go home and change, or be home-schooled.

There is a picture of this kid with the news article, and actually he looks kind of cool. No, he is not manly-looking, but he's definitely got his own sense about what looks good, I've seen rock stars and television actors who look less weird than that.

This is just plain silly ...
Dillon said he believed Escobar arrived at school in a dress and heels. But Escobar said he never wore a dress. He says he opted for "skinny" jeans all three days with flats.

The district lists the dress code on its homepage. The rule states that students should "refrain from any mode of dress which proves to contribute to any disruption of school functions."

School administrators and teachers are the final judge of the appropriateness of clothing, according to the rule.

Escobar said he moved to Cobb County from Miami to live with his older sister. His Florida school didn't have an issue with the way he dressed, but his parents did. His sister, Veronica Escobar, urged her parents to let Jonathan come to live with her. Now she says she's shocked by what has happened.

"I didn't think they would take it this far," Veronica Escobar said.

Jonathan Escobar says he wasn't a disruption in the classroom, but he attracted attention in the lunchroom. "Everybody was surrounding me," he said.

Yeah, y'know, I never heard of a sixteen-year-old who tried to attract attention before ...

I suppose at this point I should confess that I myself was a repeat dress-code violator in high school. No, I did not wear pink wigs, but I was thrown out of school for long sideburns, no socks, hair past my collar, I don't remember what all, every couple of weeks they'd send me home for something or other. In a way I know how this kid feels, he's just being different, he's not hurting anything, and these grown-ups are making a big deal out of it.
On his second day of school, Escobar says he was pulled out of class to speak with a police officer who told him he was concerned about the student's safety.

"They should've told the students to back off," Escobar said. "They should have never given me the option of homeschooling or changing who I am."

Oh yeah, good idea, call the cops on the kid for provoking bullies. I love that.
In his short time at the Kennesaw school, Escobar apparently made quick friends. By Tuesday evening, nearly 900 supporters had joined a Facebook group called "Support Jonathan." Many were planning to purchase a bright pink T-shirt with the same phrase.

Escobar says he wants to be allowed to attend school and eventually graduate. But he doesn't want to stifle what he calls his art.

"If I can't express myself, I won't go to school," he said. "I want to get the message out there that because this is who I am, I can't get an education."

People have a natural tendency to conform to group norms, but the distribution of that conformity is itself normal -- it's a bell curve, lots of people at the center, a few in the tails of the distribution. This kid is an outlier, well somebody's going to be. Is it necessary to force conformity for those who fail to be intimidated by peer pressure? That is the question that lies at the heart of many of the controversies we discuss on this blog. Can a society allow its citizens the liberty to be different?

21 Comments:

Anonymous Level Headed said...

First of all, there should be no hats or wigs allowed, unless a kid has cancer and wants to cover his bald head for that reason. Way too distracting. . kids are at school to learn. Who in class can see over that hat anyway? Bottom line. . .where are his parents?

October 08, 2009 12:51 PM  
Anonymous deluxe said...

I'm not usually big on TTFism but I think I'd side with the kid here.

It's unusual behavior but aside from notifying the parents to make sure they know about it, I don't see why the school needs ban such dress.

October 08, 2009 2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

School uniforms in public schools are the answer. They'd alleviate a million headaches for all concerned.

October 08, 2009 3:52 PM  
Anonymous Level Headed said...

Kids who wanted attention used to be the class clowns. Now they dress up for the shock value?
I think his parents have a screw loose for letting him attend school dressed that way. That is, if his parents are even around to see him. Who is in charge, the kids or the schools? There needs to be boundaries.

October 08, 2009 5:33 PM  
Blogger Hazumu Osaragi said...

O-o-o-kay...

An anonymii says school uniforms. I'm all for that -- IF Gender Disphoric kids can opt for the REGULATION uniform of the gender they feel most comfortable with.

Because what the anomynii was really trying to do was enforce rigid gender boundaries via a 'school uniform' policy.

Or would the anomynii accept a unisex uniform, like military BDUs? That way it'd be totally fair.

October 08, 2009 6:09 PM  
Anonymous Level Headed said...

Yeah, they can wear a non-gender specific uniform and sing BARRACK HUSSEIN OBAMA MMM, MMM, MMM.

October 08, 2009 6:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure China has a surplus of their old, gender neutral uniforms which we could purchase at a bargain basement price -- now that our country is going bankrupt.

October 08, 2009 9:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is sad:

"OSLO (Oct. 9) -- President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples," the Norwegian Nobel Committee said, citing his outreach to the Muslim world and attempts to curb nuclear proliferation.

The stunning choice made Obama the third sitting U.S. president to win the Nobel Peace Prize and shocked Nobel observers because Obama took office less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline. Obama's name had been mentioned in speculation before the award but many Nobel watchers believed it was too early to award the president."

The last U.S. President to win was Jimmy Carter.

Oh yeah, Al Gore won and he says he used to be the next President of the United States.

October 09, 2009 6:52 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

this is sad:

"OSLO (Oct. 9) -- President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday


Spoken by one of those unpatriotic people who cheered when the USA lost the Olympics.

What's sad, IMHO, is that there are Americans who cheer every set-back and are sad at every victory by this President of the United States.

This American is sorry we lost the Olympics (but glad Rio won it) and very proud of her President for being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2009 for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,"

October 09, 2009 8:15 AM  
Anonymous deluxe said...

along with the Al Gore award, it represents a cheapening of the Nobel Prize

that's what's sad

again, we have a guy who gets credit for doing nothing

he did absolutely nothing but run for election as a Senator

he's accomplished nothing as President

the Olympic selection process is not a competition, it's a search for ways to bring the world together

the U.S. has averaged an Olympics a decade over the last half century

no other country comes close

when a country in an unrepresented region puts together a reasonable proposal, it should be an almost automatic approval

Obama put the prestige of the Presidency up for a cause that any fool would see was wrong

your attitude is jingoistic

October 09, 2009 8:27 AM  
Anonymous deluxe said...

a follow up to an old tale of media bias:

"Dan Rather is the poster boy for the cover of the scheduled release of "Media Bias For Dummies"!

Pssst, Bush Volunteered For Viet Nam Theater Duty, Really!

An outside panel CBS brought into to get to the bottom of the so-called “Rathergate” mess says on Page #130 on an online report resource that George W. Bush had volunteered for fighter pilot service in the Viet Nam theater.

This little known information discovery was first brought forward on "The O'Reilly Factor" Tuesday night in an interview between Bill O'Reilly and Bernie Goldberg. What is interesting about this uncovered piece of information is that it shows to what lengths the producers and tellers of this story, that aired just 55 days before an election, went to hide an important fact about George W. Bush and his military service (beyond the phony documents)."

October 09, 2009 8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama's winning of the Nobel Peace Prize is a symbol of years of liberal teaching, where children get prizes for doing the most unexceptional things. Wouldn't want to hurt their self esteem by actually expecting them to do something to earn the award...

October 09, 2009 8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

George W. Bush had volunteered for fighter pilot service in the Viet Nam theater.

He must have been really drunk that night

October 09, 2009 10:11 AM  
Anonymous deluxe said...

at the time Obama was probably reciting the Koran in Indonesia

October 09, 2009 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deluxe...you continue to outdo yourself in making the most inane and pueril remarks. This is really becoming quite amusing...watching you sinking deeper and deeper into the quagmire of hatred, despair, racism, and igorance!!
Brunhilde

October 09, 2009 4:46 PM  
Anonymous Level Headed said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

October 09, 2009 5:28 PM  
Anonymous Level Headed said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

October 09, 2009 5:30 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Don't waste our time, Anon.

JimK

October 09, 2009 5:38 PM  
Anonymous Level Headed said...

Waste your time? Don't you have a sense of humor?

October 09, 2009 6:11 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

For me, this was the difficult paragraph in the AJC article:

Escobar said he moved to Cobb County from Miami to live with his older sister. His Florida school didn't have an issue with the way he dressed, but his parents did. His sister, Veronica Escobar, urged her parents to let Jonathan come to live with her. Now she says she's shocked by what has happened.

The kid has been rejected by his own parents to a significant degree, which has apparently put them at odds with their older daughter, but his previous school didn't find him to be disruptive.

I'm a car-free 49-y/o who walks and uses public transit.

My suggestion to folks who have a problem with Escobar: Forget the wigs and makeup. Spend a little time on city buses and in slightly offbeat coffee shops.

Note that ordinary young guys are somewhere between being fashion-conscious, and being trend-setters, wearing flowery outfits with flamingly bright accents... hot, hot, pink is huge when done right, brilliant, decisive yet flowery artwork is incredible against a bleached-white (or even lacy) background.

It's no longer a gay or scary thing among the under-30 set to be gender-trangresive, at best it's likely to inspire a casual head-nod-and-lets-move-on-because-I'm-bored-now move.

October 10, 2009 3:59 AM  
Anonymous Level Headed said...

Steve - if this is what you call excitement in your life - you need to get a life.

October 10, 2009 12:08 PM  

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